ELAR – Formative Assessment

Formative assessments are an integral part of the instruction process, providing feedback to both the teacher and student with the goal of improving learning.   Without formative assessments, teachers wouldn’t be able to make timely adjustments to instruction to ensure student mastery.  These adjustments can be anything from a re-teach for those who did not master the concept to an enrichment activity allowing students to apply their concept/skill in a new way.


reteach to enrich scale


Exit tickets (Fisher and Frey, 2004 ) and SOS Summaries (Dodge, 2009) are two  quick, easy, prep-free ways to assess FOR learning.



Exit Tickets are slips of paper or index cards in which students respond to a prompt or question pertaining to the day’s lesson.  The question or prompt shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes to complete.   Often they are referred to as “tickets out the door” because students cannot leave the classroom until they have handed the teacher their response.  After all the responses are collected, the teacher reviews them and uses the information on them to determine what adjustments need to be made to instruction.  The teacher determine which students (if any) need a re-teach, which students need additional practice through a reinforcing or elaborating  activity, and which students showed mastery of the lesson and can move onto an enrichment activity.  Fisher, D., and Frey, N. (2004) point out that there are three categories of Exit Ticket prompts.

  1. prompts that document learning
  2. prompts that emphasize the process of learning
  3. prompts to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction



Prompts that document learning Prompts that emphasize the process of learning Prompts to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction
The most important thing I learned today was…


Summarize today’s lesson in 25 carefully chosen words.


Write three things you would say to explain this to a younger child (or adult).


Choose one word that summarizes today’s lesson.  Explain why you chose that word.


I need help with…


What would you like to review during the next session?


How did you feel about__?


What did you do to participate today?


What is something you are doing to help yourself learn?

Rate your understanding of today’s topic from 1-10 and explain WHY you rated yourself that.


The best part of class today was…


What did you not like?


Secondary example of an Exit Ticket:

secondary ticket example



The S-O-S Summary (Dodge, 2009) is a formative assessment that ELAR teachers can use before, during or after instruction.

Before: to assess student attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about a topic.

During: to assess what students are coming to understand about the topic.

After: to assess if attitudes and beliefs have been influenced or changed as a result of new learning and if they can better support their opinion.



S – Statement

Student reads the statement provided by the teacher.


O – Opinion

Student decides if he/she agrees or disagrees with the statement.


S – Support

Student supports their opinion with evidence, facts and examples.


Statements you might pose in an ELAR classroom:


There was a better solution to ______________.

____ is of value.

The character was justified when __________.

The author implies ______.

This passage suggests ___________

This character feels ______.

The story would be different (same) if the setting were changed to __________.

The effect of ___________ was most significant to __________.

______ is similar to ____________.

________ reminds me of ____.


The author has a bias.

The author believes ____________.

The lesson the character (or the author) is teaching is _____.

The passage (or the author) implies/suggests_______.

The tone of the passage is _________.

The writer’s overall feeling toward ______ is______.

_____fulfilled his/her dreams.

_____ is a good (or poor) choice for a title.

_____ is more successful.



Elementary examples of S-O-S Summary:








Fisher, D., and Frey, N. (2004).  Improving Adolescent Literacy: Strategies at Work.  New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Dodge, Judith. (2009). 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom: Easy, Low-Prep Assessments That Help You Pinpoint Students’ Needs and Reach All Learners. Scholastic Inc.


the attachments to this post:

SOS Elementary

secondary ticket example

reteach to enrich scale

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